Interview with Apollyon of Aura Noir 2008
By Bradley Smith
Itís been a long time since you guys last released an album and itís about time you made your triumphant return. How do you feel the intervening years benefited Aura Noir and how does that reflect on Hades Rise? What differences do you feel you needed to make on Hades Rise as compared to The Merciless?
Shite! Extremely difficult opening questions I must say.
Iím not sure if I would use the word benefit. Before Aggressors accident we had already made 4 songs for Hades rise. In fact I have a video recording of us playing the title track on the soundcheck prior to our release party for the Merciless. We were also forced to cancel important live shows. We have always been on shitty rip-off labels and when things finally were starting to look better everything just collapsed.
Aggressor was in a coma for over a month and naturally the future of Aura Noir wasnít really the main issue when he woke up with a new Norwegian record in pulverized and fractured bones. It wasnít until one year later when he asked to have his guitar brought to the recreation home that I silently started to pray to Satan for Hades Rise to become reality. Some months later he presented Schizoid Paranoid to me with shitty programmed drums and at that instant Aura Noir was reborn.
My memory isnít quite what it used to be for some reason.. hmm..but most importantly, almost two years ago, late 2006 we did the first recordings for the new album. I had just moved up to the mountain area and arranged so we could rehearse and record everything in my basement. I had also been taking drum lessons..haha..as if..no but after 12 years of playing drums sporadically on otherís drum kits I had finally got my own and I secretly practiced quite a lotÖ at least the first month. A seemingly hopeless attempt to conceal the absence of Aggressorís eminent drumming.
The most difficult was of course my own songs but as the recording/rehearsing process went on it became clear that most of the songs would be Aggressorís which suit my style of playing far better, so I think in the end I have nothing to be ashamed of.
Anyway Iím happy we didnít go to a ďproperĒ studio to record the album. Especially since we were only two people this time. It was a relief to be able to control everything yourself not having to worry about budget or retarded technicians. I think that really saved the album and in many ways made it sound much better than any of our earlier releases.
With the ďincidentĒ and all this time between the Merciless and Hades Rise do you feel there was a need to return strongly and make a bold statement on Hades Rise? Do you feel you achieved this goal? What has the fan reaction to your absence and subsequent return been?
Of course we wanted the album to kill. I still listen to it now and thatís what matters most to me. The only thing I was worried about was destroying the album with shabby drumming but that didnít happen so I guess we achieved our goal. There will always be stuff youíre not a 100% satisfied with but at least you have a lot more control when u do everything yourself. This time we did everything but mixing/mastering.
Concerning fan reactions I must admit that I donít really wanna know. I donít like to read reviews or hear too many words of praise. Itís impossible to be oblivious to it though. Youíre mostly exposed to good critics which is nice but it doesnít make me believe Iím a rock star.
We make our music and present it exactly how we believe it should be. If people tell us they like it, thatís cool, but on the other hand if people tell u we should have done this and that instead and Aggressor should have played drums, then itís fucking annoying and a proper reason to get violent.
Rumor has it that Peaceville will be discontinuing Tyrant Syndicate? How does that make you feel especially since you were the band that helped launch Darkthroneís label and will help close it down (along with Abscess)?
Itís a bit sad but itís not like we havenít experienced it before nor is it very dramatic.
The scene appears to be undergoing a Thrash metal revival. Does it piss you off at all that all of a sudden these upstarts are getting attention for ďresurrectingď a style you have been playing for 15 years already? Do you feel these new bands will fade or are there worthy acts out there that deserve to be recognized?
Iím not sure if I know which bands and what kind of thrash metal we are talking about here. There was a revival going on after we had released our first album too but that time.
It seemed most of the bands were more inspired by wasp and twisted sister than vicious thrash metal.
I have come across many newcomers today though who are young and extremely well ďeducatedĒ on how to perform this kind of music in a more interesting way. I like to think that we are partly responsible for that
Fenriz included you as one of the few modern practitioners of old school black metal by using your song Blood Unity on his Peaceville compilation. How did that make you feel? And what significance was there in his choice of that particular song?
I havenít asked him and since it was my song Iím just kind of embarrassed. Iím a shy person. haha
Now that Aura Noir is back can the fans hope for another Uberthrash gig? Is there still the magic and group unity between all these bands despite the time that has passed since the last gig?
We never took part in any of the gigs. only the three other bands.
I wouldnít say thereís any magick or unity feeling. We donít wanna feel like we are part of any movement and we donít enjoy pressure. These bands are friends of ours(Aggressor even plays with inferno) and we just liked the idea about releasing the double 7 inches with them.
Even if we might be the biggest band of the three I donít think we would feel comfortable headlining an uberthrash gig.
You were supposed have a live album coming out awhile back. Has that idea been shelved? What performance was going to be used for this and how do you feel about Duplicate and Vendlus records co-releasing it? Is this a dead issue or can we as fans dare to hope this still might see the light of day?
I have no idea. I had forgotten about the whole thing. We havenít discussed it for ages.
To us itís not important. Now thereís even a live bootleg out. live at elm street or whatever itís called.
We have loads of unused material though but the thing with the live album youíre talking about was that Duplicate wanted to release the vinyl version of ďthe mercilessĒ but they decided it was better that Neseblod released it instead and as a compensation we told them they could release a live album or whatever. But like I said I havenít heard anything about it for several years.
You seem to be the highest profile band in the Norwegian black thrash movement. How do you feel as the apparent figurehead of this movement or do you think that is still true? Why do you think this is such a strong thrash scene in Norway?
Itís probably because we did it first and still do it but it doesnít mean we are big. There are several good thrash bands here but they are kind of not black/thrash if u know what I mean. Black metal is not what it used to be..itís become rather embarrassing so I guess bands who play dirty thrash metal nowadays try to avoid any comparisons with that genre. Itís only natural I think, that extreme people will seek uglier stuff when the genre that used to be the most extreme is now more or less run by the music industry and thus very uninteresting and cynical. I just wonder why it takes people so long to figure out theyíve been fooled.
Is it really a strong thrash scene in Norway?? At least I donít think thereís an advantage coming from Norway playing thrash metal like the situation used to be for black metal bands. I only know a few good thrash metal bands here and the most interesting new ones are bands like Necromantheon and Deathhammer. Iím so astonished by their riffs that Iím thinking they actually have the right to tell us we suck and are too old. haha
But I donít think any country is superior when it comes to this genre, which is good.
You and Aggressor have shared lyrical duties for Aura Noir but your styles are quite different. Can you compare and contrast your styles? Basically tell us what each of you brings to the Table so to speak.
Well to make it easy Aggressor is more sophisticated in his style, kind of like Celtic frost while I am more primitive like old Sodom ďspit at the church-evil I get-BlasphemerĒ.
Aggressor normally writes his lyrics independently of the song while Iím more of a lazy fuck and often wait til the song is finished hoping it will inspire me to write something.
But itís always hell and death and ugliness. Stuff that fits the music. Lyrics are very important to us but itís not important to write about a specific topic or to tell a story. Itís creating a vicious atmosphere that counts.
While we are on the topic of lyrics what do you consider appropriate topics for thrash metal lyrics? I mean everyone writes about different things and I was wondering if you thought there were certain ideas and themes that one should stick to while writing lyrics considering the type of music you play.
Iím satisfied as long as the lyrics donít annoy me and are performed with attitude. I seek the atmosphere more than trying to understand what the lyrics are really about. There are phrases or words that will ruin the feeling of the song in my ears so the safest is that the lyrics are timeless and not political or referring to recent events.
I think the thrash metal scene died in the eighties partly because many of the bands started to show too much concern about the planet in their lyrics. I donít mind their concern but I just donít think itís the right arena to discuss such topics.
In my ex band Cadaver I remember the guitarist giving me lyrics to a song and I ditched it right away because it contained the word ďdoctorĒ haha. I can never sing that word convincingly..itís not metal.
Still on the topic of lyrics I read these lyrics ďWe know so fucking well not to hide, Yet to stay undergroundĒ from Upon the Dark Throne and it made me think that there was a design of credibility to remaining an underground band rather than striving for all the glory and fame like certain other posers in the metal scene. What do you think about this and were you trying to send some sort of message with these lyrics?
Probably. I donít mind big bands if they still have attitude and donít have their record labels, sales figures or girlfriends on their minds while making songs.
Anyway the lyrics for Upon the Dark Throne were written while I was listening to all Darkthrone albums consecutively while downing a bottle of whiskey and probably doing other bad things to myself. Itís probably 4 times as long as the one on the song and I donít understand it completely today myself. I just know itís evil. haha. Darkthrone can be very inspiring.
Any other words of blasphemy to spew forth upon your fans or any words of ridicule for the posers that fall in your wake?